How We Saved $10,000 By Doing It Ourselvses (+ KOHL’S?)

If you're here from our email list, I accidentally sent out the wrong link this morning in today's email for the Kohl's sheets! Here's the corrected link, and if you scroll all the way down you can also read an old post about how we saved $10,000 by doing it ourselves. Happy Sunday!

Here's another fun deal at Kohl's if you need a few new pillows and sheets! Remember you can mix this with anything in the store, but here's just an easy quick scenario:


Add Grand Collections Whimsical Twin Sheets Set to your cart for $15.99 (reg $39.99)
(Or see more prints HERE!)
Use 30% OFF Cardholder Code LOVE30 and FREE Shipping Cardholder Code SHIPFEB
or use 15% OFF Code BIGSAVINGS for non-cardholders
Makes it $11.19!

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 5.10.07 PM


And while you're at it – score a fresh set of pillows on the cheap!

Add Kohl's Big One Pillows in your cart now $3.99 (Reg $11.99)
Use 30% OFF Cardholder Code LOVE30 and FREE Shipping Cardholder Code SHIPFEB
or use 15% OFF Code BIGSAVINGS for non-cardholders
Makes it $2.79!



Kohls Department Stores Inc 

Check out the rest of the crazy deals at Kohl's going on right now.


You guys.


I'm not gonna lie, saving $10,000 by doing most of this project ourselves was not. easy.


And I'm also not going to tell you we did it all for $100.


Not even close. At all. Crazy.


But, I am going to tell you that if you're willing to put in some serious work and researching you can save a bundle by doing home projects yourself.

To make my life easier (uploading these pics separately was nuts!), here's a video of how the actual fireplace took shape.

A few notes on the video:

  • We saved $500 by pouring the concrete foundation for the fireplace alone – it was a lot of work but took about 2 hours so we figured James and I made a $125 hour rate and a little exercise too.
  • The stone for the hearth was HEAVY. It was a miracle James & Jackson were able to move it into place!
  • The size of the original fireplace was fairly narrow, so James bought $20 in concrete block to beef it up a bit.


Last Spring when we moved to Ohio we knew we wanted a pretty patio to enjoy. We love being outside, and have a beautiful yard but missed the outdoor space we'd had in Alabama.


When we moved, we budgeted immediately some moo-lah for this (backyard living spaces aren't cheap!) and got a few estimates.


Because our kids are getting older (I have a sophomore. in. high. school. CRAZY.) we knew that we wanted the space pretty quickly so that we could enjoy it while our kids were still at home. We've always been pretty patient and usually wait several years before tackling major home projects, but since we'd budgeted for this from the day we purchased the home, we knew it was something we wanted to tackle pretty quickly.


One of the biggest things I struggled with when we moved is that after 18 years of marriage we'd pinch our pennies to re-do three homes to varying degrees, and I just hated to start again after feeling like our home was almost done. We really planned to stay in our Alabama home forever so the move was tough! When we looked for homes here we made sure we had money set aside for the backyard and office updates which has helped so much. I'm so glad we did because it's made these updates much more manageable!

So, we got an estimate for the backyard last summer, including the patio, deck, landscaping and a fireplace (knowing that we would likely do some of it ourselves.)


However, when the estimates all came in between $22,000 and $24,000 (YIKES), we knew we'd be doing quite a bit of it ourselves! Like I shared last week, we did hire someone to put in the stamped concrete patio, but tackled everything else on our own.


Here's the before (remember?)


And here's the after . . .



This is the view from our back porch before . . .

And here it is today . . .




Like I said, we still spent a bundle, but saved a ton. There were a few things that we paid more for than we probably had to, but for us they were worth it for the convenience. So, just to be honest with you all, here's what we spent (which is still so much, but added value to our home and we already enjoy it so much!)

  • Semco Outdoor for Stone Fireplace Kit, Stone Hearth from Lang Stone, Cedar Mantel from Columbus Millwork, and fireplace stone and mortar from Reitter Stucco $6401 (looking back we probably could have done this for less by building the fireplace out of concrete block, but the kit made it much easier to build, which was worth it since it was the first time we'd tackled a project like this)
  • Patio Landscaping – $1954 (included stacked stone around the fireplace, 5 trees, plants, topsoil, mulch ~ I can't believe this cost that much, but it went up fast!)
  • Poured concrete patio $2800 
  • Stacked stone column $165
  • Total = $11320
  • Savings from $23,000 estimate = $11680



My amazing-fantastic-he-must-really-love-me-a-bunch husband has never tackled a project this large, but did just an incredible job. By working on smaller projects when we first were married he learned the ropes, and got his confidence up for this monster. I couldn't be more pleased with it!


While this was a lot of work, getting what we dreamed of was completely worth it (, and we were able to decide exactly how things would end up. We still have little tweaking to do, but I'm so proud of his work (along with his awesome sidekicks – our kids Jackson and Caroline were an amazing help, and we just paid them in half price Sonic milkshakes this summer!) 🙂

Have you tackled any major DIY projects in your home? I'd love to hear what you're up to!

Looking for more landscaping posts? Here are a few: 

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I'd love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)


See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!



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  1. Congratulations on an job WELL Done!! 🙂

  2. jamie bo-bamie says

    Laurie that is so beautiful – congratulations on such a welcoming place to rest and make memories!

  3. Stunning! I think we need to come see it in person, though! 🙂

  4. Loved the video of pics, great job!

  5. Wow, your house looks similar to mine. Wished I saw this before we did ours:) it look gorgeous. We had to start from scratch too, moved in our brand new home 1 1/2 years ago. We did everything ourselves too and hired out the concrete patio. Ours were smaller and it costed us just over 4,000. But it’s normal price out here in Colorado:( good job on your yard, its beautiful.

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